Enquiries Policy

In accordance with its Royal Charter (159KB) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the National Army Museum welcomes enquiries about its work and its Collection. It also seeks to encourage public interest in and research into the history and traditions of the land forces of the British crown. These aims are met in a variety of ways that are intended to reach as many people as possible.

They include:

  • Displays within the Museum in Chelsea
  • Loans of exhibits to other museums and galleries worldwide
  • Exhibitions and other information on the Museum's website
  • Books, leaflets and other publications
  • Taught sessions for educational and other groups and the general visitor both at Chelsea and elsewhere
  • Representation at heritage events
  • Special events for families and other audiences at Chelsea
  • Access by prior appointment to items not on display
  • Provision of photographs and other copies of items in the Collection, subject to copyright law and the Museum's regulations. A charge is usually made for this service
  • A shop stocking books, models and other items appropriate to the Museum's mission and Collection.

These services are largely funded by a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Defence, resourced, staffed and, whenever resources permit, provided free of charge to anyone wishing to use them. The relative ease with which information can be provided on the internet, together with the high cost of providing bespoke answers, means that the Museum will continue to increase the information it provides in electronic formats.

If you wish to address an enquiry to the National Army Museum

  1. Please read this Enquiries Policy
  2. Is the National Army Museum the best place to send your enquiry?
    • Remember that other institutions in the United Kingdom and around the world are able to answer many of the enquiries that we receive.
  3. Please check that it cannot be answered
    • from books at your public library
    • in your local history or military museum
    • in the National Army Museum's own galleries or on the website - try looking under 'Research' on the home page
    • elsewhere on the internet.
  4. Please put your enquiry in writing - letter, fax or email
    • If you telephone we may ask you to write in as this enables us to respond to questions in order of receipt (and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 only requires us to reply to written requests for information)
    • We will respond in writing within 20 working days of receiving your enquiry.
  5. Please be specific, provide as much information as possible, and tell us where you have already tried to find the answer to your enquiry as this will save us going over the same ground
  6. Do not expect to have your enquiry answered during a visit to the Museum unless you are coming to one of our advertised 'Identification and Advice' sessions or you have made a specific appointment to meet a named member of our staff
    • In common with other professionals curators are not always available to see casual callers, and arriving unannounced may result in disappointment
    • If your enquiry concerns edged weapons (swords, bayonets, knives, etc), firearms, explosive devices (including decorated shell cases) and radioactive objects (watches and instruments with luminous dials) you must NOT bring the object to the Museum; please bring a photograph instead. You may be committing an offence by carrying certain types of firearms and edged weapons without the appropriate documentation. No apparently radioactive items nor ammunition and other exploding munitions unless they are Certified Free From Explosive will be allowed into the Museum.
  7. Please remember that you are very welcome to use our books, archives and other paper collections to answer your enquiry
  8. Please be prepared to visit other institutions in order to obtain all of the information that you require
    • In addition to the resources of the National Army Museum many enquiries can only be fully answered by visiting the National Archives, British Library, regimental or corps museums and local record offices, as appropriate.
  9. Please remember that
    • we cannot undertake research for you - this includes looking up individuals in 'Army Lists' and checking references. If you are unable to visit the Museum yourself you may need to employ a professional researcher to investigate on your behalf
    • we are unable to comment upon dissertations, manuscripts of books, articles or other literary works, films, blogs or broadcasts in any other media.

Requests for information about the Museum, its work and its Collection

Enquiries of this type are answered in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Answers to many frequently asked questions are available on the Museum website, such as:

  • when is the Museum open
  • what do you collect
  • how much of the Museum's income in 2005–6 was spent on new exhibits?

Other information is provided as required in response to written (letter, email or fax) enquiries. For example:

  • how many visitors did the Museum have in January 2001
  • does the Museum have an 1815 'Army List'
  • how many job vacancies were advertised during the last financial year?

Requests for advice about research

Enquiries of this type involve access to the expertise and knowledge of members of the Museum staff. Although they are happy to share their knowledge the most that they can do is to suggest possible avenues to explore. Curators are unable to enter into protracted correspondence or to engage in lengthy telephone conversations with enquirers about researching family history. Neither can they undertake research - this includes looking up individuals in 'Army Lists' and checking references.

The identification of items in private ownership

Curators will attempt to identify (but not to value) militaria in private ownership preferably during one of the Museum's regular Identification and Advice sessions on the first Monday afternoon of every month (Bank Holidays excepted). This service is not available by post, fax, email or telephone.

Research at the National Army Museum

Access to certain items in the Collection is available by appointment. Please see Access to the Collection for more details.

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